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Char Dham opening dates – 2017: The portals of Gangotri and Yamunotri shall open on 28th April, 2017 this year. The beginning of Char Dham starts with Gangotri followed by Yamunotri, Kedarnth and Badrinath. This tradition of Char Dham is in existence for many centuries since vedic times as per the text. The opening dates of the Char Dhams are as follows:

Gangotri: 28th April, 2017

Yamunotri: 28th April, 2017

Kedarnath: 3rd May, 2017

Badrinath: 6th May, 2017

Gangotri: In the midst of giant deodars and conifers nestles the picturesque settlement of Gangotri at a height of 3140 meters. The word “Gangotri” exudes peace and divine love, and the visitors literally find it here. Here in the midst of towering mountains, where the air is cool and crisp and the sky is deep blue, everything looks cleansed and pure; and this is what Ganga has been doing to mankind for ages. Arriving here, the thoughts become pure, the spirit is rejuvenated and a dip in the river automatically cleanses the body and soul. Visitors  begin to think of this world and life in a more benign and positive manner. This is what Ganga descended to this earth for.

Yamunotri: where Yamuna landed on earth, is the symbolic source of river Yamuna.  The actual source, a frozen lake of glacial ice, is located at a height of 4421 meters above sea level about ¾ km further up on the Kalind Parvat.  Approach to this place is extremely difficult. However the shrine of Yamunotri is located on the foot of the hill and is easily accessible. The Yamuna of Yamunotri is different, entirely different in her infancy, just out from the frozen cradle, tossing and giggling with the mountain pebbles.  The tiny Yamuna has icy cold and crystal clear waters, bubbling down with ethereal purity.  How different she is from the polluted Yamuna that we see at Delhi and Prayagraj.  Absolute innocence and the infantile purity of Yamuna heightens that deep feeling of reverence which Yamunotri has for thousands of devotees.

Kedarnath: The temple is magnificent in its style and architecture, and  to construct such a temple at this height over one thousand  years ago (believed to be this old) must have been quite a feat.  The temple must have been constructed when the temple architecture in India was at its peak, but it is difficult to understand the devotion and resources of the person, certainly a devout royalty, who got this made in this difficult terrain where the working season is maximum six months only.  There are no historical records relating to its origin and construction.  It is built of extremely large evenly cut, grey slabs of stone on a rectangular platform.  The temple has a mandapam and a garbh griha.  In the centre of the garbh griha there is a conical rock formation, encircled by a narrow pradakshina path, which is worshipped as Lord Shiva.  In the mandapam, right in front of the Shiva pinda, is Nandi, the divine bull and Shiva’s mount, whilst in the courtyard facing the garbha griha is another large Nandi.  There are many idols and subordinate temples on the outer pradakshina path.  The Shiva pinda is considered one of the twelve jyotirlings of Lord Shiva.

Badrinath: Sri Badrinath Dham is situated on either banks of the    Alaknanda.  Standing like  twin sentinels over the valley are  the Nar and Narain mountains, and far in the distance soars  the resplendent Nilkanth peak.  Sri Badrinath Temple is in  the lap of  Narain Parvat on the right bank with Nilkanth in  the background.  Most of the living apartments in Badrinath are in the lap  of Nar Parvat and in between flows the Alaknanda,  touching  the feet of Lord Badrinathji.

The Char Dhams of Uttarakhand